Category Archives: What’s New

Park News, October 2016

A couple of news items:

p1000219Tree Safety.  A number of our members have expressed concern  about the erosion under the large tree across the stream at the beach area.  We asked the Township to take a look, and the Township Arborist and Parks Supervisor evaluated the tree.  The Arborist says the tree has enough healthy root system so that it does not present an immediate danger.  The township will continue to monitor the situation and will deal with the tree if it becomes hazardous.

New Kiosk October 2016

New Kiosk October 2016

New Kiosk.  The Township kindly offered us a new kiosk paid for from special Township funds dedicated to park improvements.  In addition to Township postings relevant to our Park, we will be permitted to use part of the space for Friends of West Mill Creek postings.  The new kiosk also has space for brochures, off-leash permit application forms, and other useful information.  Thanks as always to Lower Merion Department of Parks & Recreation!!!

Fencing Across the Creek by Old Gulph Road. ¬†No picture because ¬†it’s hard to see, but fyi the safety fence across the creek on Old Gulph Road is complete¬†and doing its job! ¬†Thanks to the gracious cooperation of our neighbor, The Courts, we were able to install this fence¬†to¬†keep our dogs¬†from running onto the Courts parking lot or the busy street. ¬†(More info about the safety fence appears in the previous What’s New post, if you missed it.)

Park News, Summer 2016

Lots of news this summer. . .

New Safety Fence!  Our biggest news item is the soon-to-be-installed s

canstockphoto thank you

afety fence that will run along Old Gulph Road and along the bank of the creek opposite the beach area.  This  black wire fence  should be almost invisible to preserve the natural aesthetics of our park. It is intended to stop dogs who cross the creek in the beach area from running directly out onto Old Gulph Road.  (Sorry, we cannot fence the entire park, but we believe the placement of the new fence will provide a significant safety improvement.)  Thanks to your generous donations, Friends of West Mill Creek Park will pay for the 100% of the fence.   Another big thank you is due to our neighbor, The Courts, the tennis club that owns the property on the other side of the creek.  The Courts graciously cooperated in this project by allowing the fence to be placed on their property.

New park sign 2016New Sign. ¬†If you’ve been to the park recently, you will have noticed our spiffy new “Welcome to West Mill Creek” sign. ¬†It has received lots of positive feedback. ¬†Thanks Lower Merion Department of Parks & Rec! ¬†You may be interested to know that the sign results from a ¬†job skills training program in our Montgomery County prison system. ¬†The prisoners designed and manufactured the sign and we think it shows that they have a lot of artistic talent and know-how. ¬†Great job guys!

Trash can corral made by Paul Lewis, Eagle Scout candidate, for our park

New Trash Can Corrals.  Many thanks, once again, to the Boy Scouts for our handsome new trash can corrals.  The corrals will keep the cans from tipping over and also provide an aesthetic upgrade.  They come to us courtesy of Paul Lewis of Boy Scout Troop 71 (Merion Liberty Troop).  Paul worked with Parks Supervisor Dave Deangelis to design, build and install the corrals as his Eagle Scout project.  Thanks Paul and Dave!

We Love Your Input.  If you have an idea for a future project or event, please let us know.  You can either speak to someone on the Steering Committee or send us an email via the Contact Us tab on the website.  Our projects have frequently originated from member suggestions, or received a boost up the priority list based on your feedback, so please participate!

Want to¬†Support the Friends of WMC?¬† We hope that you are pleased with all our progress this year. ¬†If you would like to support the new safety fence and ¬†future projects,¬†it’s not too late to make a donation and become¬†an official 2016 Contributing¬†Member of Friends of West Mill Creek Park. ¬† See the “Get Involved!” tab on this website for ¬†information.

Spring 2016 Park News

We have lots of news, big and small, since our last newsletter.

Trail improvements under construction

Trail improvements under construction

TRAIL IMPROVEMENTS!  The most exciting news is, improvements to the final muddy section of our trail are under way.  Soon we will have dry footing on the entire loop trail.  Many, many thanks to Lower Merion’s Dept of Parks & Recreation for addressing the Number One project on our members’ wish list.

Our Little Herb Garden -- Help yourself to some leaves on your way home!

Our Little Herb Garden — Help yourself to some leaves on your way home!

FREE FRESH HERBS.  If, as you head home from the park to fix dinner, you’d like a bit of basil, parsley, dill, or oregano, help yourself from the herb pot in the Wildlife Garden, just inside the garden gate.  Just remember to leave enough on the plant so it can keep on growing through the summer.  And there are gallon jugs of water next to it, so if the pot is looking dry, feel free to water it.

KNOTWEED WORK DAY REPORT.  During 3 work days in early June (two scheduled and one ad hoc to finish up), 11 Friends of WMC members spent 58 hours pulling out Japanese Knotweed, an invasive plant that increases stream erosion and crowds out wildlife friendly plants.  A big thank you to Julian and Paul Brenman, Ellen and Stephen Briggs, Paula Burns, Michelle Detwiler, Mary Field, Karen Hinckley, Hazel Murphy, Ellen Reese, and Elaine Stern.  We cleared the fenced off riparian area from the park gate all the way down to the second stream access point.  There’s more to do in the final fenced section from the second stream access trail to the end of the park (and elsewhere).  Email us (use the Contact Us tab on this website)  for instructions if you would like to continue this work.

The Ellens, with Lizzie, victorious on a knotweed pile

WEEDING WEDNESDAYS.  We scheduled three garden workdays to weed and cut back overgrown sedge.  We got lots of work done at the first one but there are two more, on June 22 and June 29,  if you’d like to help.  We are sending notices about this only to those who have expressed interest in working as a garden volunteer.  If you would like to be included on that list, just shoot us an email.  Also, garden workdays are always listed on the website so you can check for details there if you’d like to join in.

Garden Award and Volunteer Opportunity

The Ellens accept the Friends of West Mill Creek Park "Go for the Green" award from Brian Hoppy of EAC

The Ellens accept the Friends of West Mill Creek Park “Go for the Green” award from Brian Hoppy of EAC

The Friends of West Mill Creek Park has won a Go for the Green Award!  Lower Merion Township’s Environmental Advisory Council has given us this award to recognize the ecological and educational benefits of our Wildlife and Respite Garden to the Township and our work in creating and maintaining the garden.  The Go for the Green Awards program will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Appleford Estate, located at 770 Mt. Moro Road in
Villanova, beginning at 6 p.m. If you haven’t seen Appleford, it’s a lovely historic house and garden, well worth a visit in its own right.  Anyone who would like to attend is welcome to come and cheer us on.

And that brings to mind that gardening season is here!¬† If you are interested in being on the Wildlife Garden watering team or garden team, please send an email to and¬† specify watering, gardening, or both.¬† This will not commit you to anything‚ÄĒit will just put you on the list of people who will receive email regarding appeals for watering, weeding or planting help in the garden.¬† This way, we will not be bothering people who don‚Äôt want to participate in ongoing maintenance with garden-related email.

Note:  When the need arises for a big work day, such as an invasive plant removal project on the stream bank, we will notify the entire membership.

January 2016 Member Survey Results

survey clip art

Q#1:  Should a gate be installed on the entrance path between the parking lot and the main park?

Strongly agree:  65.71%

Agree:  14.29%

Neutral:  17.14%

Disagree:  2.86%

Strongly Disagree:  0.00%

Q#2:  Would you be willing to donate to finance construction of the gate described in Q#1?

77% of respondents (27 people) said Yes.

Q#3:  Should fencing be installed on the far side of the creek near East Old Gulph Road to deter dogs from running onto the road?

Strongly agree:  48.57%

Agree:  11.43%

Neutral:  31.43%

Disagree:  2.86%

Strongly Disagree:  5.71%

Q#4:  Would you be willing to donate to finance construction of the fence described in Q#3?

53% of respondents (18 people) said Yes.

Q#5 :  Are there any other important projects you would like Friends of WMC to pursue?

  • maybe another picnic table or several more benches along the walkways
  • The recent drainage project is working well. Other areas of the path still flood, so these areas need a fix too. Kudos to Ellen x 2, Jill and all else. There are some brick blocks next to the parking lot trash can that need to be hauled off.
  • Drainage continues to be an issue. The large puddle by the creek that is as big as a lake needs to be filled in.
  • Drainage issues, hose to wash down dogs prior to getting into car
  • Build up the walkway on the lower side of the part where it floods all the time.
  • Drainage project expanded to include the two swamp areas and netting along the post and rail fences along the entry path
  • Fill in black mud pond by wooden walk by old Gulph. Dogs wade in it and become black-filthy.
  • Let’s get rid of the pond.
  • more small rock/ sand for dry walking paths
  • continue the work of addressing the persistently muddy areas of the paths

Q#6   Do you have any other comments, thoughts, suggestions?

  • This is very important; thank you!
  • Glad we have you caring and taking action on our park! Many thanks!
  • Safety at the intersection next to the park entrance.
  • Like the idea that dogs be leashed when in the parking lot. Peer pressure works wonders. A gate is a costly partial solution, but if funds can be raised or the township agrees, go for it.
  • Wonderful work so far!!! Thanks to everybody!
  • This needs to get done, I would hate to see another dog lose its life because of improper fencing
  • Since Eliza is one of the worst offenders of running into the parking lot when other people are leaving, I fully support any solution that will keep her from running at full speed across the park and jumping into everyone’s cars. – Duncan
  • I keep tripping over poop. People with loose large dogs need to keep their eyes on them at all times and go to the poop and pick it up.
  • I’m glad you mentioned the importance of keeping all dogs on leash in the parking lot . So many near misses observed.
  • I think other areas in the park are also concern re: dogs’ safety.

Return of Santa Paws

2015 santa pawsOn Saturday, December 12, Santa Paws once again visited our park.  He posed for pictures with our dogs and gave a biscuit and a tennis ball to each good pup.  Hot cocoa, cookies, and doughnuts were available for the humans, and a good time was had by all.  Most important of all, the event raised well over $500 for the Pennsylvania S.P.C.A.  Thanks to all who participated for your enthusiasm and generosity!

P.S. you will be glad to know that Santa Paws got a well-earned vacation and is now believed to be cruising the Caribbean.  THANKS  SANTA PAWS for appearing at WMC Park!

IMG_0938P1000306 P1000305 P1000308

Parking at the Park–Issues and News

canstockphoto22387903As you may know, some of our members were recently ticketed, either for parking on the grass or for being in the park after sunset.  We contacted the police department to better understand their concerns and enforcement guidelines.  We had a very pleasant and productive discussion.  Basically, the bottom line is:

Under existing township ordinances, for public safety reasons, the park is open from sunrise to sunset only, so as soon as it begins to get dark you should finish up your conversations and leave the park.  However, the police will use discretion, and give us a little leeway on getting out of the park.  They agreed to void the parking tickets issued between 5 and 5:15 pm for being in the park after sunset (even though technically they were proper under the applicable ordinance) for this reason.

Also, it is illegal to park on the grass and at the side of Mill Creek Road.

  • Parking on the grass will eventually degrade and ruin the attractive green space which the park provides. In addition, there are environmental issues relating to toxic fluids that drip out of cars while parked, especially because of our location next to Mill Creek.
  • Parking on Mill Creek Road is dangerous, both to the cars and drivers parked there and to people leaving the parking lot. Cars parked there block the view of oncoming traffic.

We fully understand that people are only parking on the grass and Mill Creek Road because the parking lot is full.¬† We will work on scheduling meetings with the Parks Department to see if there is any way to relieve the parking congestion.¬† Meanwhile, please park only in the actual parking lot‚ÄĒand always park reasonably close to cars that are already parked so as to save space for others.

Summer/Fall Workdays Report

Karen waters, with Rocket looking on

Karen waters, with Rocket looking on

Our hardy garden volunteers worked hard to keep the garden going in a drought-filled summer and fall season.  We had a great watering team that sprang into action every time Mother Nature fell down on the job, and the fact that almost every one of our 5 trees, 48 shrubs, and 650 newly planted perennials not only lived but flourished shows the success of their efforts.  Thank you Watermeister Mark Wassmansdorf, and team Chris Bushnell, Michelle Detwiler, Bobby Harmelin, Karen Hinckley, Toba Spector, and Ellen Briggs.  

Ellen Reese weeds

Also thanks to our planters and weeders who came out for our three late summer and fall work days and donated a total of 31 hours of work, not to mention their expertise and good humor:  Paula Burns, Celeste DeBeese, Michelle Detwiler, Mary Field, Meredith Greenbaum, Karen Hinckley, Martha Lombardo, Ellen Reese, Ellen Briggs, Peter Briggs, and Stephen Briggs.

Mary Field, Ellen Briggs and Peter Briggs with garden tools

Mary Field, Ellen Briggs and Peter Briggs with garden tools

Active Member Thank-You Party

Friend of West Mill Creek Park party  Friends of West Mill Creek park 5

karl's cake 2

November 2015 Active Members Thank You Party

November 2015 Active Members Thank You Party

friends of west mill creek park

On November 15,¬†we celebrated our 2015 Active Members (all those people who donated time, talent, or financial support to Friends of WMC Park, during the current year). ¬†It was a fun time, especially because we all got to meet the significant others of many of our regulars. ¬†Thanks everyone for coming!! ¬†P.S. We made every effort to invite every Active Member — we did have to straighten out a couple of record keeping mistakes, so for future reference, always remember to speak up if need be.

Great Day on the Bridlewild Trail

Our Bridlewild Guide, Nysa (far right) and our Friends of WMC hikers

Our Bridlewild Guide, Nysa (far right) and our Friends of WMC hikers

We had a gorgeous day for our hike on the Bridlewild Trail, which took place Sunday, October 11.  Leaving from the Beth David parking lot, we hiked the trail to Rolling Hill.  Elaine and Max, two of our hikers, stayed at the corral while the rest of us hiked down to the creek.  Nysa gave us some fascinating history of the mills and other uses of the old mill buildings (including use as a recording studio used by Bruce Springsteen and other celebrities).  And the dogs had a marvellous time, needless to say.  Thanks Nysa for a great day!